Challenges in genetic resources policy making: some lessons from participatory policy research with a special reference to Ethiopia uri icon

abstract

  • It is widely recognized that developing countries lack technical and institutional capacity to effectively implement genetic resources policy. This has led Bioversity International (the then IPGRI) to initiate a project called Genetic Resources Policy Initiative (GRPI) in six countries (Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia, Peru, Vietnam and Nepal). Drawing from the literature and experiences of this project, this paper has attempted to document some of the lessons from the project and present the issues and challenges that need to be addressed for effective genetic resources policy. Recognizing its cross-cutting nature, the paper has argued that genetic resources policy has to be part of the broader development agenda to effectively deal with trade-offs and harmonize the conflicts. Essentially, the important policy question is to strike the balance and simultaneously promote the diversity of genetic resources and welfare outcomes. The major thrust of GRPI has been the multi-disciplinary, -sectoral, and -stakeholder (3M) approach. Despite all its theoretical merits, its implementation has been a serious challenge in practice. This has, among others, been due to "A project for all is a project for none" dilemma. Engaging decision makers in 3M deliberations has revealed that many of them tend to think that maintaining genetic diversity promotes traditional farming and retards agricultural development. Clearly, addressing each of these challenges and policy loopholes requires innovation in a diversity of institutions.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008